Jan 19, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; New England Patriots free safety Devin McCourty (32) breaks a pass in the end zone intended for Denver Broncos tight end Julius Thomas (80) in the second half during the 2013 AFC championship playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

NFL Rumors: Patriots' Devin McCourty to sign a long-term deal?

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Although he had his struggles as a cornerback, Devin McCourty has become a good safety and excellent leader for the New England Patriots.

At just 26 years old, he is obviously a player the Patriots would like to lock up long term.

According to ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, McCourty will have the chance to sign a long-term, high-paying contract in the near future.

My take on safety Devin McCourty’s long-term future with the Patriots has been that it’s more a matter of “when” than “if” he will be presented the opportunity to sign a lucrative contract extension. McCourty’s contract expires after the 2014 season, and with Saints safety Jairus Byrd just landing a deal that averages $9 million per season, and Seahawks safety Earl Thomas set to hit the market after the 2014 season and likely eclipse that mark, a strong case could be made that the Patriots would be wise to be proactive with McCourty. The proactive approach has backfired at times (e.g. Aaron Hernandez), but McCourty, from this view, represents as safe an investment as there could be in a business in which there are truly no guarantees. He’s the type of player to build a defense around, and seems to be the type of person you want others in the locker room following. Along those lines, I’m still puzzled at how he wasn’t initially voted a captain in 2013.

McCourty was drafted by the Patriots with the 27th overall pick in the first round of the 2010 Draft.

Last season, McCourty had 69 tackles, two forced fumbles and one interception in 15 games.

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